Making the Most of Chase Slate to Deal With Debt

This card can help if you’re paying huge interest charges on credit card balances and need a get-out-of-debt plan.
Gregory KarpJul 12, 2016

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If you’re paying huge finance charges on credit card balances and need breathing room to execute a get-out-of-debt plan, you’d be hard-pressed to do better than transferring balances to the .

The is one of the few major credit cards that for a limited period doesn’t charge balance transfer fees. It also has a lengthy introductory 0% interest period.

With that one-two punch, the essentially lets you carry a balance for free while you develop a strategy to pay it off. However, it’s only good for transfers from non-Chase cards, and you can't transfer more than $15,000.

The has no sign-up bonus or spending rewards, but its annual fee is , so the upside is all about what you don’t pay, not what the card pays you.

So, if you have the or are thinking about getting it, be sure to optimize the use of its headline features and reap other goodies the card has to offer.

Here’s how to get the most out of your .

Balance transfer fees charged by most credit cards are typically 3% to 5% of the amount transferred. On a $10,000 transfer, that would cost you $300 to $500. The , however, has a $0 introductory balance transfer fee for the first 60 days and offers .

Once you pass the 60-day mark, balance transfers incur a fee of 5% of the amount transferred, or $5, whichever is greater. So make transfers soon after opening the account. The dollar amount of transfers cannot exceed your credit limit or $15,000, whichever is lower.

It's relatively painless to add this card to your wallet, as it charges a annual fee.

Use the time afforded by the free balance transfer and 0% introductory APR to develop a debt-elimination plan, figuring out ways to save money in your household budget to reduce the card balance before interest kicks in. You shouldn't be using this card just to "surf" by repeatedly shifting balances to new cards without reducing them.

Chase offers help to develop a debt-free strategy with , an online program that allows you to create a personalized plan for paying off your debt. It’s available free to cardholders. You can monitor your progress online and via statements, while tracking spending trends with the  tool.

Keep track of your creditworthiness with access to your FICO credit score — the data used by most lenders. FICO scores, for which some vendors charge a fee, are provided free every month to cardholders. Chase provides FICO scores based on information from Experian, one of three major credit bureaus in the United States. In addition, the Chase  allows you to view the factors influencing your score.

The also offers a lengthy interest-free period for purchases, which is ideal for times of big expenses and little cash. However, adding new charges you can’t immediately pay off will increase your liability and slow your progress toward becoming debt-free.

While the doesn’t have the points, miles or cash-back benefits of rewards cards, it does include an array of perks, including price, purchase and extended warranty protections. Price protection reimburses you the price difference when you buy an item that goes on sale within 90 days of purchase, limited to $500 per item and a maximum of $2,500 per year. Purchase protection reimburses you when your new items are damaged or stolen, limited to $500 per item and $50,000 per account in the first 120 days. The extended warranty adds an additional year to qualifying manufacturers’ warranties of up to three years.

The  isn’t right for everybody. It's a poor choice for people who pay their balances in full every month. But it's a useful tool for those struggling with debt and needing a breather from crippling finance charges — especially if they use all the perks that the card offers.

Information related to the has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

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